Despite an initial dip in its stock after it unveiled an ad campaign headed by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Nike is now seeing the benefits of its controversial partnership.
The market value of the company has reportedly surged by almost $6 billion since it released its first Kaepernick ad.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 22, 2018
The athletic gear company’s stock initially dropped by 3 percent after the first Kaepernick ad — and inspired many people to post “protest” videos of company gear going up in flames.
The campaign drew criticism from many due to its suggestion that Kaepernick has “sacrificed” anything for his beliefs — the first ad included his face with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
President Donald Trump was among those to criticize Nike’s partnership with the controversial Kaepernick, the man most famous for starting national anthem kneeling protests in the NFL some two years ago.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump tweeted days after the first ad was released.
Another high-profile critic was actor James Woods.
The Academy Award nominee publicly dumped stock in the company and encouraged others to do the same.
Taya Kyle, the widow of late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, criticized the company in a Facebook post. She encouraged Nike to look at another former NFL player as an example of sacrifice, the late Pat Tillman, an athlete who sacrificed his professional football contract in order to serve overseas — where he eventually gave his life.
The critiques, however, have not been enough to stop the momentum Nike has gained in recent weeks. While some of the sales jump can be attributed to back-to-school shopping, there’s no denying that leftists and Kaepernick supporters have come out in droves to support the company.
“[Nike’s] new ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick was a stroke of genius,” said Camilo Lyon, according to Reuters, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, a financial services company.
“This premeditated move was another subtle but significant sign of Nike’s strength and confidence in its position in the marketplace.”
Though the company’s seeing a major boost in sales right now, the Kaepernick partnership could come with a long-term cost. Many conservatives have given the cold shoulder to Nike and likely will continue to do so. They will not forget the athletic company’s celebration of Kaepernick — and how it propped him up as an example of “sacrifice.”
That, in the end, could hurt Nike.
Check out one of Nike’s Kaepernick ads below: